Henry Miller Online
by Dr. Hugo Heyrman

a tribute to his work and life, books, art, loves & friends,
with an excellent collection of hard-to-find-Miller items

Decatur Street, 'The Street of Early Sorrows'
"Of love we may expect anything. . . Our inner wealth or poverty is in proportion to our vision. Love wipes the mirror clean. There can be no broadening of one's vision without a corresponding leap of love."
—Henry Miller (Love and How It Gets That Way)

Left: Saratoga Avenue - Decatur Street, Miller's Street of Early Sorrows, Brooklyn (1936). Right: Perry Street, where Henry and June’s speakeasy was located in a basement at 106 Perry Street, in Greenwich Village. (Photo from 1937, source: the New York Digital Archives.)

  Henry Miller's First Love
Henry Miller met his first love, Cora Seward, at Eastern District High School, in Brooklyn 1907, when he was 15.
She became 'Una Gifford' in his writings —in the 'Rosy Crucifixion' trilogy, Una is a female he always looks back upon as his first real love. Although he is almost 40 at that time, he still is brought to tears by the image of this girl from when he was just 15 years of age. He lusted her from afar. Usually circling the street she lived on to get a glimpse of her shadow in her bedroom window. The love was unrequited and long-enduring. By the summer of 1911 Henry has been in love with Cora for nearly four years.

In 'First Love', written when Miller was in his fifties, his attraction to Cora was undiminished.
”In her China-blue eyes, so cold and inviting. . . I see myself forever and ever as. . . the restless frustrated artist. . . always seeking the unattainable. Her image remains fresh and vivid as of yore, and nothing, it seems, can tarnish it or cause it to fade away.”

"It was impossible for me to look at another girl. . .
It was the same walk night after night —a long, long walk to Cora’s house on 181 Devoe Street and then home. I never stopped to ring the door bell and have a chat with her. I was content to merely walk slowly past her home in the hope of seeing her shadow in the parlor window. I never did, not once in the three or four years during which I performed this crazy ritual." —Henry Miller (Book of Friends)

Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin

Anaïs Nin was born 'Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell' (February 21, 1903, Neuilly-sur-Seine — January 14, 1977, Los Angeles) to two artistic parents. Her father, Joaquín Nin, was a pianist and composer in Cuba, and her mother Rosa Culmell was a classically trained singer in Cuba of French and Danish genes. Anaïs Nin was an author that became famous for her self published diaries. She is famous for her erotica and was the first woman to really explore the realm. Before her, erotica written by women was rare and unheard of.
Even for a Parisian author of avant-garde novels and erotica, Anaïs Nin was very chic. Her signature look —pencil-thin black eyebrows and dark lips against pale skin— gave her the appearance of a silent-film screen goddess. She played with the look by setting it against bohemian styles from gypsy lace headdresses to hippie tunics, thick dangling earrings to flowing madras dresses. Nin's carefree look perfectly complemented her laidback lifestyle and confident, serene writing.
    Henry Miller in Man Ray's Studio
"For me, understanding is love." —Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin met the self proclaimed gangster-poet Henry Miller; a struggling Brooklyn writer in Paris, through her lawyer. Miller and especially his wife, the mythic June Mansfield Miller, enchanted Anaïs by their 'hard' bohemian living and their associations with the crème de la crème of Paris' underbelly, including Antonin Artaud.

In 1932, Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin became lovers.
"Come and be my husband for a few days," she would write to Miller, when her husband remained away on business. Miller often stayed overnight or on extended visits of four or five days.

Nin's diary records their first encounter: "I have met Henry Miller. . . When he first stepped out of the car and walked towards the door where I stood waiting, I saw a man I liked. In his writing he is flamboyant, virile, animal, magnificent. He is a man whom life makes drunk, I thought. He is like me."

Anaïs Nin on 'Tropic of Cancer': "This book brings with it a wind that blows down the dead and hollow trees whose roots are withered and lost in the barren soil of our times. This book goes to the roots and digs under, digs for subterranean springs."
"Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together."
—Anaïs Nin
  Henry Miller and Masked half-nude (Margaret Neiman), 1942
Gelatin silver print (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California)
Anaïs Nin 'The Queen of Erotica'
"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
—Anaïs Nin

"The radio plays blues. Paris, New York, the two magnetic poles of the world. Paris a sensual city which seduced the body, enlivened the senses, New York unnatural, synthetic; Paris-New York, the two high tension magnetic poles between life, life of the senses of the spirit in Paris, and life in action in New York."
—Anaïs Nin

Anaïs explained in 'Diary I', that she was devoted to Miller's intellect and emotionalism, while admitting her affinity to June Mansfield. "I have her in myself now as one to be pitied and protected." —Anaïs Nin

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

—Anaïs Nin

"Henry has imagination, an animal feeling for life. . . the truest genius I have ever known." —Anaïs Nin

"What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up by saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning. There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person."
—Anaïs Nin

"Art must be for woman like a personified ancient ritual where every spiritual thought is made visible, enacted, represented. Art must be like a miracle... art is a miracle."

—Anaïs Nin
"The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say." —Anaïs Nin
Anaïs Nin's handwriting
Cover: Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus   Anaïs Nin, a letter to her publisher, written in New York City, 1945
Anaïs Nin was a free spirited, independent woman, in an artistic milieu, with a passion for life that was beyond the scope of her time. She was the only woman of that time who wrote prose and wrote it she did.
Her eloquence and style tugged at the heart strings and influenced women who read her words for decades. Her diaries have been an inspiration to women all over the world.
    Henry Miller with Renate Gerhardt
"I was met at the Hamburg airport by Rowohlt's secretary, a charming black-eyed, black-haired young widow with Italian blood in her veins. . . It didn't take me long to fall in love with Renate. She was full of grace, beautiful to behold, and had a noble or aristocratic touch to her. Her forte, I soon discovered, was language. Not languages, although she spoke three, four or five fluently and often did translations. No, her interest was in language itself, how it got that way, so to speak. Etymology was her coctail. Needless to say, I was all ears when she opened up on her pasionate subject."
—Henry Miller, (Renate and the Astrologer)
'Joey', Volume III, Book of Friends
In 1960, Henry took off again for Europe to be a judge at the Cannes Film Festival, and there began a passionate affair with Renate Gerhardt, an assistant of his German publisher. Henry was in love with Renate, but she proved to be unavailable, not wanting to give up her life in Europe to move to Big Sur.
    Henry Miller with his German girlfriend Renate Gerhardt in 1960
Henry Miller and Brenda Venus, 1979

Dearest Brenda,

Does everything matter? Yes! The little things are often more important than the seeming big things. Do you follow me? If we had more faith we would not push so hard, we would be more confident, more serene. And to my mind serenity is greater than happiness. Happiness is a much over-rated word. Joy is the thing —or bliss. That 7th Heaven feeling. Agreed?

Your infatuated inamorata
—Henry V. Miller, Beloved of Brenda Venus (Miracle of Mir
Henry Miller's last love was Brenda Venus, an actress, his letters to her "Dear Dear Brenda" were published in 1986. (Photography: Martin)
    Brenda Venus, Henry Miller's last 'love goddess'

As a very young woman, Brenda Venus met the famed Henry Miller. He was the father of the sexual revolution.
He became her mentor, and she his muse, his inspiration.
In just four years, he wrote her 4000 pages of letters.
They were collected and condensed for the book, "Dear Dear Brenda," which represents Miller's last significant body of work —comparable to, 'Tropic of Cancer'.

Aside from being Henry Miller's last "love goddess", and best selling author, Brenda Venus is also an actress, ballet dancer, director and producer.
'Dear, Dear Brenda'
  "We are all guilty of crime the great crime of not living life to the full. But we are all potentially free. We can stop thinking of what we have failed to do and do whatever lies within our power. What those powers that are in us may be no one has truly dared to imagine. That they are infinite we will realize the day we admit to ourselves that imagination is everything. Imagination is the voice of daring."
Henry Miller

Brenda Venus

"How shall I paint her? In silver, gold, ivory or what? After all the other portraits I have drawn of woman what new can I add? Well, love is always new, even the hundreth time around. I said Love, not sex. One can include the other, but the other can exist alone, unnourished except by physical desire. Love is a flame that is nourished on all sides from all directions. Anything or anybody can inspire it. Sometimes life alone is sufficient. There is holy love and unholy love. All are legitimate. All are beseeching the same thing—a response. And even when there is no response, love can exist, a tortuous affair, but still a yearning, a beseeching. Perhaps the case of unrequited love is just as thrilling and terrifying as mutual love. I have known all kinds. I deem myself fortunate to know this latest love, Brenda Venus."

—Henry Miller, Volume III 'Book of Friends'
(Capra Press, Santa Barbara, 1979)
"Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such." —Henry Miller
  "Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing." —Henry Miller
'The Love Letters to Brenda Venus'
"True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself."
—Henry Miller

"One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things." —Henry Miller

The last twenty years of Miller's life were spent in Pacific Palisades, Big Sur, Los Angeles. Brenda Venus cared for him during his final years, 1976 to 1980. Henry Miller died at the age of 88 on June 7, 1980, in his Pacific Palisades home, he was cremated and his ashes scattered off Big Sur, California.
    These love letters of Henry Miller to Brenda Venus document the affection and tenderness that characterized their relationship.


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